Wednesday marked another annual Black Stags Matter walk, the third held at Fairfield University. The march led students, staff and other supporters around campus starting at the stag statue, moving to the Barone Campus Center, the DiMenna-Nyselius Library, Bellarmine Hall, the Dolan School of Business, and concluding at Egan Chapel  for refreshments and final words. 

Some attendees waved Black Lives Matter flags, and wore pins or shirts as they walked in solidarity with the event’s themes of equality and community. 

Students unable to attend the event were encouraged by the Fairfield University Student Association to wear black as a show of support to staff and students of color at Fairfield. 

All photos from @fairfieldbsu_ on Instagram.

All stops were marked with tables holding artifacts and documents related to the evolving culture and experiences of people of color at Fairfield. The photos ranged from detailing past staff organizing, to campus achievements and past student protests. 

Each location gave opportunities for students, mainly leaders of Fairfields Black Student Union, to voice their personal experiences attending Fairfield. Many expressed frustration with the lack of diversity at Fairfield, along with gratitude for the supportive environment created by BSU, connecting students of color and creating a safe space. 

Speakers used their time to spread awareness in a handful of ways. 

Many gave speeches. Some read poems, led prayer and others performed. Bella Dawe, a first-year student, sang Bigger by Beyonce at the entrance of Bellarmine Hall. The song’s lyrics echoed messages of liberation and empowerment. 

The chorus sings, “You’re part of something way bigger

Bigger than you, bigger than we, Bigger than the picture they framed us to see

Legacy, oh, you’re part of something way bigger”

Beyoncé BIGGER Official Video

One spokesperson used their time to explain the significance of coming together. She said, “Each step we take is a testament to justice, equality and the inherent value of black lives. We are all a force of change, not only on this campus, but every space we step into, because our voices are exemplified as we refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice.” 

The President-Elect, Blessed Stephen of BSU explained how she often sees Fairfield as a microcosm for society. She said, “I’ve always told people that Fairfield is a perfect representative of how the world truly is. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it’s filled with love and sometimes it’s filled with hate.” 

She explained that she sometimes regrets coming to Fairfield, citing often being the only student of color in her classes as one reason why but says, “I’ll never allow the school to run me, I’ll end up running the school!” 

At the chapel, the walk’s final stop, the current president of BSU thanked many Fairfield organizations for showing up and lending care to their cause. They recognized many groups including FUSA, the Women’s Basketball Team, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Campus Ministry. 

The event’s remarks concluded with the 76th FUSA President Aliyah Seenauth ‘24, who applauded the speakers, and briefly described her hopes for this event to continue long after she graduates. 

The walk is part of FUSA’s Celebration of Unity Series and the initiative is not over yet. Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 24, FUSA will be holding a Celebration of Unity luncheon where nominated staff and students will be acknowledged for their contributions and commitment to campus unity. 

The series will conclude this Friday with FUSA’s Night of Drag; an event consisting of bingo, food and LGBTQ+ education.